Luxurious displays of brand new books piled high in beautiful, enticing displays and the smell of fresh print; instantly you are in the Waterstones shop at the Cheltenham Literature Festival and a week dedicated to the written word begins. Attracting authors from all genres of literature: fiction, biographies, history and for all ages – this wonderful event offers an opportunity to peek inside the minds of some very special people.

Year Eight were particularly fortunate to accept an invitation to, literally, step into Booktrust Teenage Prize-winning author, Marcus Sedgwick’s writing space. Pupils were given the opportunity to ask questions about a photograph of his office, they could ask him anything about what they could see – a mask on the back of the door, the cartoons on his computer screen or a skull on his desk filled with money. It was an unusual and engaging way to discuss his latest novel ‘Saint Death’ offering a broad insight, not only into his creative writing process, but also exposing (with a candid honesty) his life as a writer.

Following on from a fascinating talk, six very privileged pupils enjoyed ‘morning coffee’ and a chat with Mr Sedgwick. In the VIP Writers’ room he answered questions about his favourite choice of book to read, the age his stories were aimed at, what inspired him to write the story ‘Saint Death’ and some of the hidden elements to hisnew book(two of the main characters were based on the ‘fathers’ of psychology ‘Freud’ and ‘Jung’). Having been criticised for writing mainly tragedies, Mr Sedgwick asked the children their thoughts on the importance of happy endings, their honest feedback was well received.

Cheltenham Literature Festival is a wonderful event, there are so many great opportunities for
everyone to get involved in all types of literature. It’s a chance to meet some inspirational speakers
and hear how they bring a book together -encouraging everyone to read and perhaps consider
exploring adifferent type of story in the future.